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Q&A

Folk Clothing Cathal Mcateer

Q&A with Cathal McAteer of Folk Clothing

Folk Clothing have consistently been one of the most exciting and surprising brands hailing from British shores since their inception in 2001. Founder and designer Cathal McAteer‘s career in menswear began as a teenager in Glasgow, working his way from the shop floor to his own design studio in London, to having his creations on the rails of some of the top menswear stores in the world. Folk’s timeless yet playful designs can now be seen on those in the know up and down the country, in pubs and art galleries, clubs and coffee shops. We put a few questions to Cathal to glean a bit of insight into his process, inspirations and the future of Folk.

(The interview has been edited for clarity)


For the uninitiated, what does Folk represent as a brand?

We represent a kind of ‘everything means something’; every colour and pocket stitch is there for a reason. But we are, on the surface, a balance of design, fit & quality.
Understated, subtle with fastidious detailing.  Enough to drive one’s business partner mad.

 

What can you tell us about the forthcoming Folk collection?

We focus on a young artist, Alfie Kungu. Brilliant, uplifting prints alongside lovely colours combined with the season’s stone colour, which is, for me, the strongest. There is also a programme of shirts that have pre-sold so, so well… lots of woven patterns that work best in the short sleeve models.

 

What do you feel the state of British design is?

Personally love it. But in the area of I’m a lover not a hater. So I look more globally at design every day and marvel at how it’s used: from the old doors of the Hayward gallery to model of a highly advanced eco house that’s going to be built down the street from my place.  

 Folk Overshirt Layering

What is the future of British design and fashion?

Design I feel will always be strong; fashion design [in particular] will be strong. The fashion business is a different story – I don’t particularly love the ethics and morals of it, the endless driving towards the pound note looks reckless.

 

Any stand out pieces you’re particularly fond of from the collection?

The Alfie print swim shorts, rivet sweat in stone, Oscar & Dean colab sunnies & the new trainer is banging.

 

How important is it in the modern day to cover culture and not just clothing?

The product we design and make and deliver would not be the same if it was not for culture.  It’s so heavily influenced by culture & cultures – our process does not work without it.  

 

Any news on the release of the Protest Jacket?

It’s out there! It’s been on demos. It’s been in NY, in LA, Paris. It’s talking to people – and it’s saying it how it is.

 Folk Cord Shirt

How important is the fabrication of Folk clothing? Is fabrication an overlooked feature in the modern day?

Hugely, but we can also use simple fabrics that have a story poured into them, like an artist or a show that influences the detailing, the trim, the hidden design.

 

What pieces from the Folk archive make up your wardrobe? Any prototypes for the future?

Archive – many, many trousers that are not commercial; an old indigo dyed grafter’s jacket – I have two in different states of wear, the fabric ages so beautifully.


Which musical artist or album best sums up Folk Clothing?

 Levon Helm, drummer and singer in The Band – sometimes I watch footage of him and think, “that’s me, and this fucking excellent band ‘The Band’, that’s us at Folk”. It’s a momentary thought and then, puff, it’s gone .

Check them out in the film the Last Waltz – it’s incredible footage of the great which he is. 

 

What up and coming brands are you keeping your eyes on?

I like A Kind of Guise…and of course Sports Direct is one to watch.

 

Finally, If you could start an imaginary social media beef with another brand or person, who would it be with?

It’d have to be Steve Bannon or Donald Trump but with a request that both parties had to take a triple dose of truth serum.


A huge thank-you to Cathal for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Find all the latest from Folk Clothing in-store and online at Aphrodite, and keep up with all the latest happenings with our blog and social media feeds.

Q&A With ‘Culture Connoisseur’ @KishKash1

For those who aren’t aware of you or your work, explain the world of ‘Kish Kash’
Great question and I’m not too sure how to answer it… It’s a bit of everything! Brand Consultancy, presenter of The All City Show on Soho Radio, Author, Journalist, Food Fan, an avid collector of sneakers, hard to narrow it down really! I guess you could say a ‘culture connoisseur’ of sorts.
I spend a lot of time seeking out the next generation of designers and artists, putting them in touch with the right contacts to get their work recognized and making sure no one is overlooked, talent is talent but it needs the pedestal to be noticed and I look to provide that.
Working with brands you’ll see your fair share of start-up clothing and footwear brands coming through, who’s the best up and coming brand and why should we be paying attention to them?
Labrum, the guys over there are doing something really, really cool. A friend of mine has recently started up a clothing brand named Gulps, very political and really essential for our time. WGSNYC, bespoke made streetwear with a real edge to it. All really making waves and on the cusp of something big, making big statements and wearing their influences on their sleeves.
As an older head in the world of music and fashion, particularly hip/hop and streetwear, has modern day hip/hop had a bigger influence on streetwear and street culture than it’s initial ‘heyday’ from ’88 – 00′
I think that both do. I think the new is influenced by the old, the classic cycle of inspiration and that goes from fashion to music. Someone like Kanye West is massively influenced by the 80s-90s, he’s a guy who grew up in Chicago idolizing (Michael) Jordan and that really influenced his style and love of streetwear through Jordan sneakers, plus his preppy street style and the boom of Tommy Hilfiger and Polo Ralph Lauren in the 90s. I think that stuff like Instagram allows us to have this new generation on the biggest stage for fashion, but the influence to their forefathers can’t be denied, and that evens it out in my eyes.
Staying on the topic of influences, we’ve seen sportswear take over the fashion world, which sport do you think is most important to fashion? 
It has to be basketball still, especially considering it’s street heritage. It’s harder to walk down the street in a pair of footy boots than a pair of Jordans, but football is in it’s biggest fashion spotlight in its history.
 
We’re seeing a renaissance in 90s New York style, brands like Aime Leon Dore are using NY heritage to create something new, as well as brands like Clarks are seeing their styles have a new lease of life with new fans, even sell out releases like the Ralph Lauren Snow Beach collection. Which city is next to take the mantle in fashions eye?
London! Absolutely no question, it’s such a cultural melting pot that I think with the strength of up and coming brands and already established brands like Labrum, A Cold Wall, Nicholas Daley amongst many many more, London will have it’s time in the fashion eye again.
As a Londoner, what would you class as the quintessential London style?
It’s a mixture, similar to how New York style is influenced by heritage being brought to the city. London is such an eclectic city and the style reflects that with it’s reclassified, repurposed style brought from multiple continents. It’s a mix!
It would be rude not to ask this, what’s been the best sneaker release of the year and why?
Oh god… I’d have to say the adidas 4D  Futurecraft. It’s heavier than what you’d expect but we’re looking at one aspect of the future in 3d printing. It truly is revolutionary and the most interesting original idea so far this year. There’s a lot of stuff that’s come out, but it gets soulless as it is almost daily there’s a new drop, re-release etc. You’ve got something like the Span II and that doesn’t get any attention from the kids, and that’s just disappointing. There are a lot of kids just jumping on things because they’ve seen celebs wear it, this stuff is artwork it can take time to age and be defined and yet things do unnecessarily flop. Recent sneaker releases don’t have the same weight to them as ‘back in the day’ you can work out hype to a show months in advance by who ‘likes’ this or that, it’s not like the old days with your Air Force 1 or Air Max series, they took time to be adopted by the sneaker community, it was organic.
Similarly, what’s been the best Re-Release in clothes or sneakers this year?
(After a brief glance through his Instagram @kishkash1…)  The BEST sneaker re-release of the year was the Mizuno Wave-Rider. I had my ear to the ground on this one and knew something was in the works I never gave that shoe the time of day back in 98, but it’s the right place right time for this to come back.
 
What’s been the most slept on release of the year?
 Oh definitely the Spann II.
Finally, Is Football coming home?
 Football has always been home!
You can find Kish on Instagram as kishkash1, The All City Show on Soho Radio and any late night ramen eatery.